Tyrone Garland had a tough shooting night on Sunday for La Salle, but with 2.5 seconds to go, his lay-up vaulted the Explorers into the Sweet 16 with a 76-74 victory over the Rebels of Ole Miss. Garland had struggled mightily from the field all night, finishing with 6-for-16 shooting (including the game-winner), but they trusted him with the ball in his hands in the final seconds, and he rewarded them with a high-percentage attempt that went through the rim.
It was a see-saw battle of the highest order, as neither team led by double-digits in the entire second half, and the result was in doubt during every moment of the game. Ole Miss had led early before ceding control of the lead for the better part of the second half until a 7-0 run by the Rebels (capped by a Marshall Henderson three) gave them a 4-point lead with under 10 minutes to play.
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Speaking of Henderson, the lightning rod guard for Mississippi finished with 21 points, but his absurd shot selection (an understatement really) resulted in just 8-for-21 from the field and 4-for-15 from three-point distance. On a night where they needed the best of their leading scorer, his efficiency sorely lacked.
On the La Salle side, they were led by Ramon Galloway, who had a tremendous first half (19 points, 5 threes) in carrying them to a half-time lead, and the senior guard finished with 24 points on the night to lead all scorers. As a team, the Explorers overcame a significant rebounding disadvantage (32-24) with the help of nearly 50% shooting (27-55), and the ability to hold Ole Miss to just 4-for-21 from beyond the arc.
Entering the game, there was guaranteed to be a 12-seed or higher advancing to the Sweet 16, but there is no question that La Salle is the far more unlikely team to have reached this stage, and their story is second only to that of Florida Gulf Coast. It’s a shame (on some level) that the #1 personality in the tournament (Marshall Henderson) is going home, but the La Salle team deserves to be advancing, and the fact that they had to win three games to do so makes it even sweeter.
Be sure to stay tuned to FanSided.com throughout the entire tournament as we keep you up to date with the latest results.